The mask is being lifted from the face of Israel’s apartheid state, exposing a grinning death’s head that portends the obliteration of the few restraints against killing Palestinians.
By Chris Hedges
Benjamin Netanyahu’s proposed coalition government of Jewish extremists, fanatic Zionists and religious bigots represents a seismic change in Israel, one that will exacerbate Israel’s pariah status, erode external support for Israel, fuel a third Palestinian uprising, or intifada, and create irreconcilable political divides within the Jewish state.
Alon Pinkas, writing in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, calls the coalition government, scheduled to take power in one or two weeks:
“a kakistocracy extraordinaire: government by the worst and least suitable collection of ultranationalists, Jewish supremacists, anti-democrats, racists, bigots, homophobes, misogynists, corrupt and allegedly corrupt politicians. A ruling coalition of 64 lawmakers, of whom 32 are either ultra-Orthodox or religious Zionist. Certainly not a coalition Zeev Jabotinsky, the father of Revisionist Zionism, or Menachem Begin, the founder of Likud, could have ever imagined.”
Itamar Ben-Gvir, from the ultra-nationalist Otzma Yehudit, “Jewish Power,” party, will be the new minister for internal security. Otzma Yehudit is populated with members of Rabbi Meir Kahane’s Kach party, which was banned from running for the Knesset in 1988 for espousing a “Nazi-like ideology” that included advocating the ethnic cleansing of all Palestinian citizens of Israel as well as all Palestinians living under Israeli military occupation.
Ben-Gvir’s appointment, along with that of other far-right ideologues, including Bezalel Smotrich, to be in charge of the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT), effectively jettisons the old tropes liberal Zionists used to defend Israel — that it is the only democracy in the Middle East, that it seeks a peaceful settlement with the Palestinians in a two-state solution, that extremism and racism have no place in Israeli society and that Israel must impose draconian forms of control on the Palestinians to prevent terrorism.
Oslo Called ‘An Act of Treason’
Ben-Gvir and Smotrich represent the dregs of Israeli society, one that promotes “Jewish identity” and “Jewish nationalism” in a Zionist version of fascism’s call for blood and soil. They are Israel’s equivalent of Lauren Boebert and Marjorie Taylor Greene. Their Religious Zionist bloc is now the third largest in the Knesset.
Ben-Gvir, who was rejected for army service because of his extremism, stole a hood ornament from Yitzak Rabin’s car a few weeks before the then-prime minister was assassinated in 1995 by Jewish extremist, Yigal Amir. Amir, like many far-right Israelis, including arguably Netanyahu himself, considered Rabin’s support for the Oslo Accords to be an act of treason. “We got to his car, and we’ll get to him too,” Ben-Gvir said at the time.
He calls for the deportation of Palestinians who confront Israeli soldiers; followers of the anti-Zionist ultra-Orthadox Netueri Karta movement; as well as Israeli-Arab Knesset member Ayman Odeh and the anti-Zionist Marxist Knesset member Ofer Cassif, who is Jewish.
Codifying Jewish Supremacy
The old tropes Israel employed to justify itself were always more fiction than reality. Israel long ago became an apartheid state. It directly controls through its illegal Jewish-only settlements, restricted military zones and army compounds, over 60 percent of the West Bank and has de facto control over the rest.
There are 65 laws that directly or indirectly discriminate against Palestinian citizens of Israel and those living in the OPT.
The old tropes are being replaced by screed-filled diatribes that paint Palestinians and Arabs (Muslim and Christian) as contaminants and an existential threat to Israel. This hate speech is accompanied by a vicious internal campaign to silence Jewish “traitors,” especially those who are liberal or left-wing and secular.
An Otzma Yehudit-run autocracy will shut down democratic debate, eviscerate the protections of civil society and further codify what has long been reality — Jewish supremacy and the ongoing ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from their own land that dates back to the founding of Israel in the 1940s.
The once unthinkable is now thinkable, such as formally annexing large sections of the West Bank, including “Area C” where up to 300,000 Palestinians live.
The killing of about 140 Palestinians this year, including the American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, is the worst death toll since 2006 (not including major escalations of violence such as Israeli bombardments of Gaza). It has been accompanied by Palestinian attacks that have left 30 Israelis dead.
The Horrors to Come
The new government will accelerate these killings along with house and school demolitions, expulsions of Palestinians from East Jerusalem, the uprooting of Palestinian olive orchards, mass imprisonment and the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians. The totality of these crimes amounts to the international crime of genocide, the New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights explained in 2016.
Gaza, the world’s largest open-air prison, will continue to be more frequently bombed and shelled. Its infrastructure, including its water, electrical and sewage systems, as well as fuel storage facilities, will be targeted for obliteration. Gazans and their fellow Palestinians in the West Bank will be subject to ever tightening blockades, reducing them to a level of subsistence that will be one step above starvation. Instead of attempting to cover up the murder of Palestinians by Jewish settlers and the Israeli army, the new government will openly celebrate the atrocities.
After the recent execution of an unarmed Palestinian who was shot three times at point-blank range and then again while on the ground by an Israeli border policeman during a scuffle was captured on video, in which Ben-Gvir called the officer a “hero.”
Netanyahu, who is charged with fraud, breach of trust and accepting bribes in three corruption cases, is determined to politicize the judiciary. He and his coalition partners will further curtail the rights of Palestinian citizens of Israel who are already second-class citizens.
They will continue to push aggressively for a war with Iran. They will support efforts to seize the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, which Jewish Israelis call the Temple Mount, the supposed site of the Second Temple, destroyed by the Romans in 70 A.D. Jewish extremists have long called for the Al-Aqsa mosque, the third holiest shrine for Muslims, to be torn down and replaced by a “Third” Jewish temple, a move that would set the Muslim world alight.
Ben-Gvir, who considers Baruch Goldstein, the Jewish settler who in 1994 massacred 29 Muslims worshipers in Hebron, “a hero,” has announced an imminent visit along with other Jewish extremists to the site of the mosque. When Ariel Sharon, then Israel’s opposition leader, went to the mosque site in September 2000, it ignited the Second Intifada.
I wish this was conjecture. It isn’t. It is what these fanatics advocate.
Avigdor Maoz of the extremist Noam Party, which opposes LGBTQ rights and wants to ban women from serving in the military, has been appointed to oversee the Israeli school curriculum, Russian immigration and national Jewish identity.
“Anyone who tries to harm real Judaism is the darkness,” he said last week. “Anyone who tries to create a new so-called liberal religion is the darkness. Anyone who — with intentional concealment and obfuscation — tries to brainwash the children of Israel with their agendas, without the knowledge of the parents, is the darkness.”
Counter to American Jews’ Values
Jeremy Ben-Ami, the president of the liberal Zionist advocacy organization, J Street, said in a public statement that Israel’s next government “seems likely to take more actions that run counter to the values that American Jews teach our children are the essence of Jewish identity,” including support for civil rights, the labor movement, the women’s movement and LGBTQ freedoms.
“How can we explain to our children and our grandchildren, let alone to ourselves, that these values are the core of the Jewish identity, but the state of the Jewish people is denying another people their rights and equality and undercutting the rule of international law?” he asked.
“This is a fundamental crisis that looms over our community in the coming years. Those in the establishment of our community who insist that Jewish America must stand united and unquestioningly loyal to Israel no matter what are doing a deep, deep, disservice to the health of the Jewish community.”
After the 1967 war that saw Israel invade and annex Egypt’s Sinai peninsula, Syria’s Golan Heights and Palestine’s Gaza and the West Bank, Israelis frequented Palestinian territory to shop, eat at restaurants, spend the weekend in the desert oasis of Jericho or get their cars fixed by Palestinian mechanics.
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The Palestinians were a pool of cheap labor, and by the mid-1980s, around 40 percent of the Palestinian workforce were employed in Israel. But the growing repression by Israeli authorities in the West Bank and Gaza, seizure of larger and larger tracts of Palestinian land for expanding Jewish settlements and festering poverty, saw Palestinians, most of them too young to remember the 1967 occupation, rise up in December 1987 to launch six years of street protests known as the first intifada.
The uprising eventually led to the 1993 Oslo Accords between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), headed by Yasser Arafat. Arafat, who had spent most of his life in exile, returned in triumph to Gaza with the PLO leadership.
The ‘New Era’ Has Ended
The Oslo Accords seemed to herald a new era. I was in Gaza when they were signed. Palestinian businessmen who had made their fortunes abroad returned to help build the new Palestinian state. The radical Islamists shrank away. Palestinian women took off their head scarves. Beauty salons proliferated. There was a brief and shining moment when a normal life, free from occupation and violence, seemed possible. But it swiftly soured.
The barring of Palestinian workers from Israel coupled with increased Israeli violence and land theft, led to another uprising in 2000 that ended in 2005. This one, which I covered for The New York Times, was far more violent. Jewish settlers were relocated from Gaza and Gaza was sealed off.
Israel also built a security barrier — at a cost of about $1 million per mile and deemed illegal by the Internal Court of Justice — to separate Israel from the West Bank and annex more Palestinian land. The wall was constructed in the wake of a spate of suicide bombings that targeted Israelis, though the idea was floated by Prime Minister Rabin in the 1990s on the basis that “separation as a philosophy” requires a “clear border.”
Arafat, who I met with many times, spent the final days of his life under Israeli house arrest. The collapse of Oslo ended the pretense of a peace process or negotiated solution.
I suspect we stand on the cusp of a third and far more deadly intifada.
An uprising will be used by Israel to justify savage reprisals that will dwarf the punishing economic blockade and wholesale slaughter meted out in Gaza during Israel’s assaults in 2008, 2012 and 2014, which left approximately 3,825 Palestinians killed, 17,757 wounded and over 25,000 housing units partly or completely destroyed by Israel, including multi-story apartment buildings and entire neighborhoods.
Tens of thousands were left homeless and huge swaths of Gaza were reduced to rubble. During the 2018 Great March of Return protests, where young people in the besieged enclave demonstrated in front of the Israeli barrier, 195 Palestinians were shot dead by Israeli snipers, including 41 children, as well as medics such as Razan al-Najjar.
As the violence and repression against Palestinians by security forces, soon to be run by Jewish fanatics, increases, larger and larger numbers of Palestinians, including children, will die in airstrikes, shelling, sniper fire, assassinations and other Israeli attacks, including those carried out by rogue Jewish militias, which also attack Arab citizens inside Israel. Hunger and misery will be widespread.
The brutal subjugation of Palestinians, justified by a toxic ideology of Jewish supremacy and racism, will only be halted by the kind of sanctions campaign mounted successfully against the apartheid regime in South Africa. Short of that, Israel will be a despotic theocracy.
Chris Hedges is a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist who was a foreign correspondent for 15 years for The New York Times, where he served as the Middle East bureau chief and Balkan bureau chief for the paper. He previously worked overseas for The Dallas Morning News, The Christian Science Monitor and NPR. He is the host of show “The Chris Hedges Report.”
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“…Ben-Gvir and Smotrich represent the dregs of Israeli society, one that promotes “Jewish identity” and “Jewish nationalism” in a Zionist version of fascism’s call for blood and soil. They are Israel’s equivalent of Lauren Boebert and Marjorie Taylor Greene…”
Hedges’ comparison here is faulty and misleading. He’s smart and knowledgeable, one wonders why he so easily misled his readers on this, since he obviously knows the truth. Ben-Gvir and Smotrich are staunch Zionist imperialists, venturing abroad to maim and kill occupied Palestinians, Syrians, Lebanese, and probably eventually Iranians.
MTG and Boebert, though obviously flawed, have leveled serious questions against Washington empire, calling for audits and seriously questioning the billions of US taxpayer dollars handed to the Kiev proxy fascists and Russophobes. They’re two of the brave few who have denounced the Ukraine proxy war. MTG and Boebert are isolationists, which is a wonderful thing to be these days. They should not be conflated with Ben-Givr and Smotrich who advocate Zionist hubristic hegemony throughout virtually the entire Middle East.
MTG, Gaetz, and Boebert (YES, they’re trouble on certain issues) but on certain other key issues they terrify the Washington establishment warmongers and parasitic defense [sic] contractors with their truth telling.
They can’t even get the phrase, “blood and soil” correct.
All this phrase meant in The Third Reich is that all Germans should return to the land…
Perhaps the worst and saddest result of the corrupt and fascist extremes of the Political Jews is that by their control of a very wealthy nation that practices apartheid in an example as great as South America or Germany ever did is that it confirms the vision of the anti-Semite. Our Proud Boys or the Hungarians’ Orban, Zelensky’s Azovs and Svobodas are all as hate-filled as one can be. Now they can point their fingers with justification at Israels’ extremists and say “See, we told you so!”
We are devolving to the 18th Century slave trade mentality on the basis of whole nations and it is happening quickly.
I would like to ponder a bit about two aspects: what is new in the “New Fascism”, and why now?
The very concept of Zionism was created in the phase of European history where nationalisms and nationalistic myths were rising in Europe, with Romantic ideas of unity of land, blood, language and, not always, religion. Zionists was conceived to change Jews, a fractious minority in multiple countries, into a “nation like the others”, normalizing religion (now, Modern Jewish Orthodox, with compatible sects), language (unused for perhaps 2500 years, but re-created) and land (to be conquered). The latter was not a major problem as colonialism as a norm to Europeans, all dominant countries did it, some joining late.
In the aftermath of WWI, more radical versions of nationalisms emerged, some with admixture of Marxism, “National Socialism”, some not, with larger stress on the cult of strength and use of force. In short, fascism. Zionism evolved in the same way.
Jewish state, since creation and till today, faces a choice: how radical this fascism should be, and why?
There were two reasons to avoid radicalism. One was adherence to humanistic ideas under the guise of “true Jewish values”. I think, among Israeli Jews, it was always a minor tendency, with few Knesset members etc. The second reason was the fear of ostracism among nations that matter, basically, the West. Since the victory in 1967, Israelis were increasingly skeptical about the second reason. There was wide consensus that narrow tribal interests should be the primal consideration, more land, more water, more exclusive privileges etc., but the controversies how quickly they should move forward persists, but the “timid fascism” was loosing the debate: again and again it was proven that Israeli Jews do not need to be concerned with the “image” etc., professional image makers and conversion of Western elites to their cause will suffice.
These are my views about what and why of “New Fascism”. What remains is the question: why the majority of Jewish Israelis is ready to throw away residual caution. To be pedantic, they could do more, e.g. declaring that killing Arabs is commendable on any day except Saturday), next degree of radicalism is that killing Jews who regret killing Arabs is commendable (but not on Saturday) etc., so it is more accurate to say is that Israeli nationalists have a keen and accurate perception of what they can get away with NOW. As this is their perception and assessment of the West, the reasons for New Fascism lie in the changes outside Israel, to wit, acceptance of a wide spectrum of fascisms.
Now is the time for the True Israel to repent, to turn back to God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (who God called Israel). To know the God of Moses, Elijah, and the many others, and to at last perceive that the Messiah many of them wrote about was truly the one who is known as the Son of God, the Christ, Jesus.
The ‘hell’ that the nation Israel knows now, is but a shadow of what lies ahead, the ‘abyss”, the ‘pit’, the future habitation of Satan and his angels, the place of eternal burning regret, from which there is not escape. Seek the Lord while He may be found, because He said that all who come to me will not be rejected. The True Israel is greatly loved by God, He longs for you to be with Him in eternity. He has provided you with the way, ask Him to show you the way.
Pete, with all due respect I must ask, if you can forgive me of my ignorance, could you please elaborate on the True Israel?
Are you saying that if the True Israel repents the Palestinians will forgive them of their misdeeds? I fear I’m missing something here.
Still it seems that you are saying that if you have the Lord on your side, all is forgiven.
The phrase, “totally unreasonable”, comes to minds when I come upon discourse such as we finds here. As we witness, the discussion always falls into one of either side bitterly describing the other and it’s actions.
Common today I believe as a result of muddled thinking. Everyone assumes they are on the only side that can be considered as having a legitimate argument.
Because the Israelis have the American Government (?) and as a result of U.S. mistakes in the past, a Nuclear capability on their side they feel invincible.
Gosh, what could possible go wrong.
The result is, out of frustration and arrogance, an example when both of either sides fall back to their emotionally based argument that nothing will solve this but the total annihilation of the other side, something must be terribly wrong with this picture and there is.
I must be careful of what I write here or either both of one of the sides embroiled here will claim I’m something short of being human. A very laughable statement, if my memory serves me correctly I have never in my life had the view that innocents should pay the supreme price for historical events. Of course they always do, so much for war.
Of course many engaged here have much more at risk that I do, but what ever.
In my opinion, the US made a series of errors since around 1943 that haunt everyone on the planet today and it reveals it’s self in the way the right wing running the Israeli government asserts it’s misbegotten authority.
Power corrupts and absolute power, absolutely corrupts. If this situation wasn’t so lopsided with military power that one side covets I seriously doubt this discourse would be the same.
So the US it can be said is largely the blame for this imbalance of power in the region, but to a much greater extent than it can be blamed for in almost every other conflict it has been involved in since WWII.
From what I see here in the comments I think I might be onto something.,
I’ve said what I think I can get away with here it seems you folks have been thinking similar thought.
Now is the time for the US to Stop supporting Israel, militarily, financially, socially.
Imo, it is a disgrace . It is an example of why hatred if allowed in………spreads to all areas.
I’m no soccer fan, but I find it extremely gratifying to see the support for the Palestinian people displayed at the World Cup; hundreds of Palestinian flags, enormous banners quoting “FREE PALESTINE.
Israel is evil personified.
” Israel long ago became an apartheid state”. Israel has been an apartheid state since its Basic Laws in 1948 which legally discriminated against Palestinians in many ways. Israeli historian Uri Davis wrote “Apartheid Israel” analyzing how this system of laws was in fact apartheid. Israel is not ‘in danger of becoming’ an increasingly apartheid state. It’s ALWAYS been an apartheid state.
One of my high school chemistry students, about 15 years ago, was Palestinian. I follow world events pretty closely and was quite aware of the apartheid nature of Israel and Israel’s violations of both international law (expectations) and general humanity. But, I wasn’t prepared for the deep, palpable anger, frustration and her unswerving identification with Palestine. Her lived experience quickly came to represent for me the solidity created by the impunity with which oppression is being exacted on the Palestinian people. The unthinkable becomes inevitable by being thought in the first place.
When you are surrounded by lifelong neighbors whose singular national ambition is to see you dead, and the country you live in erased from the face of the earth, it becomes relatively easy to find sympathy for those responsible for holding the gate.
[File under: When any Muslim shouts “Death to Israel,” it is only prudent to take him at his word.]
The Camp David and then the Abraham Accords have made the idea of Israel being surrounded by hostile Arab enemies untrue for a long time.
You might ask yourself, why do Muslims shout “Death to Israel”? Might it have something to do with stolen land?
But I’m sure it wouldn’t bother you if someone stole your home and drove you away. You would do the Christian thing and turn the other cheek, right?
Never forget, the land of Palestine belonged to the Palestinians for centuries before it was stolen from them. And don’t tell me God gave the land to the Jews before that. God may have given life to humans, but God never gave property to anyone. Like the Zionists stole (and continue to steal) the land from the Palestinians, their Hebrew ancestors stole the land from Canaanites over 3000 years ago using the pretense that God gave it to them.
The Israeli – Palestinian conflict has nothing to do with God or religion; it is a simple, straightforward land grab by Zionists.
Oh…you must be talking about the IsraHellis erasing the Palestinian people from the face of the earth.
I hear that “death to Arabs” is a popular chant.
Blah blah blah.
Israel is the colonizer and the invader of palestine.
Is it fate to eventually become the evil you were once fighting against?
No, it is payback to eventually become the evil you were once the victim of.
Israel is one of the worst “states” on the face of the earth. An unapologetic racist, fascist, religious zealots. They murder without care, steal and oppress, and if you dare say anything you’re an anti semite. Disgusting.
Well, the US always preferred fascist and totalitarian states for its partners because they can suppress the people’s reactions to the terrible things it ‘asks’ them to do.
Menachem Begin led the raid to slaughter the villagers of Deir Yassin. This was part of the Zionist strategy of terrorizing the Palestinians into fleeing for their lives.
Terrorism: How the Israeli state was won
Rabbi Meir Kahane was banned for saying the quiet part out loud, i.e. bad PR. I’d say the world must impose draconian forms of control on Israel to stop its terrorism. The Israelis already censor America’s mainstream press and terrorize its politicians too much.
Yes, but: Most US politricksters don’t have to be “terrorized” they are just legally bribed by the Lobby. Israel policy is consistent with the destruction of Libya, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen and other US foreign policy. US politricktsters are enablers and willing participants in the crimes and atrocities.
I don’t believe the US is a “democracy” even loosely defined. The Citizens United case formalized the US political system as “an oligarchy with unlimited political bribery” (See Jimmy Carter’s quote in Rolling Stone 2015)
Ours is not a democracy. The closest description of our form of government is an oligarchy. It is a form of government controlled by a few people. In our case, the people who really control our government are the corporatists who pay for the political campaigns of the politicians and employ the lobbyists to give guidance to those who make and enforce policy. It’s a shadow government that actually holds power. It’s the real deep state.
Superb comments, W. R.
Humanophile is a neologism for Humanist, just as Judeophile is one who, unconditionally, loves Jews; and Semite is a member of any of the peoples who speak or spoke a Semitic language, including in particular the Jews and Arabs.
So when an Israeli Jew claims that anyone, even Jews in the diaspora (the majority of the worldwide Jewish population), who, no holds barred, is not automatically a Judeophile, must, therefore, be an anti-Semite; is not willing to acknowledge his common human heritage with all Homo-Sapiens, especially his nearest Palestinian, Semitic Arab relatives.
This is the definition of bigotry, which of course the xenophobic, theocratic Jewish, but democratic state of Israel does not practice.
“How do you like them apples?”
Casting Stones at the Devil in Ourselves.
Not Only is Smoke Murderously Asphyxiating, it Blinds the Eyes: Paranoia is another Form of Blindness.
Can it be that the Holocaust is still a trigger for the contemporary, mass paranoia, exhibited by Israeli society, in its latest election cycles drama?
Can it possibly be the case that Jews are attempting to psychologically displace – (according to the APA’s definition of displacement), transfer their negative feelings about their own persecution onto any and all others who may or not be of the one, same, blind religious views?
From this narrow perspectival context, the theory is that all others are a constant threat, which engenders Jewish paranoid fears.
In fact, Palestinian Arabs, who are guiltless in the attempted genocide of the Jews by the Nazi regime, or any other, are weak, and therefore, a most convenient target.
Any target for this displacement anxiety will suffice, so long as it keeps the accusing group from addressing its own society’s pathological shortcomings! (Russia! Russia! Russia!)
All scapegoating of others is convenient to the unconscious mind. Who foresaw the holocaust of the Jews, before it was already in full swing, and too late to reverse course? Not the assimilated Germans of the Jewish faith; not until heads were actually being broken and books burned, and property confiscated and/or arbitrarily being destroyed.
The Jewish ‘problem’ was not the direct cause of WW II, just as the Palestinian tragedy will not be the direct downfall of Israel. It is the people of the state themselves who, unwittingly, are bringing it on themselves, just as the Americans are doing to themselves.
The fact of the matter is that the extremist Jews in Israel are NOT a minority! Just as in Germany, it was the long oppressed and tyrannized people themselves, who were the majority, and still are; regrettably they bore, and still do, bear the brunt of the blame for the elites’ malfeasance‘ against the downtrodden of their hierarchal society
A seismic change in “brain-mind” settings is urgently required, says Chris Hedges.
Yet what has been taking place all these years is precisely what the coalition of Zeev Jabotinsky, the father of Revisionist Zionism, and/or Menachem Begin, the founder of Likud, had in their imaginings all along.
Isn’t it high-time for all of us to begin to look in history’s mirror wherein each one of us alive today will face her/his own shadow self!